THE Labour party has launched their election manifesto, wanting to “give the power back to the people”.

Labour leader Tim Young, along with cabinet member Tina Bourne and manifesto co-ordinator Jim Pey, revealed the party’s main pledges ahead of the borough elections in May.

Their main aims include taking control of local services and working towards unitary authority status, improving residents’ wellbeing and making sure residents benefit from the local economy.

Mr Young said: “This is a proper manifesto, and if Labour is in power in May this is what we will be putting into practice.

“We believe it meets the needs and aspirations of residents and is for the many, not the few in Colchester.”

The party held a workshop looking at the national manifesto, and identifying the actions it would have to implement locally.

Tina Bourne, councillor responsible for housing, said: “This manifesto is much more strategic, a lot of people feel powerless and we want to give the power back to the people.”

Points on the manifesto include building as many council houses as possible, and signing up to the principles of Housing First.

Housing First is an approach that offers permanent, affordable housing as quickly as possible for those experiencing homelessness, and then provides the support services people need to keep their housing.

Mrs Bourne said: “It will take a lot of effort but the outcomes will be so much better. Housing First takes on responsibility for all homeless people, not just rough sleepers.

“It’s not just about street homelessness which is the visible face of homelessness.”

Improving street lighting and raising the profile of police on the streets is also high on the agenda.

Mrs Bourne said the party was keen to tackle what some consider ‘petty crime’.

Mr Young said he wanted to work alongside Essex County Council to have access to a fair share of police resources and increase street lighting in the darker parts of the town.

With wellbeing and health being one of the party’s main aims, it has also said enforcing clean air policies will be a priority. They have pledged to allow free parking for electric vehicles and plan to pedestrianise the High Street within three years.

The party has also considered taking ownership of a bus company to provide a more reliable public transport service.

Mrs Bourne said: “At the moment we have a patchy bus service which will choose and cancel routes as will.

“Rural isolation is really important and we want to create bus routes where people want them.”

The party also stressed the need for revised health and social care services, to free up space at Colchester General Hospital.

Mr Young said: “We don’t need another hospital, we need more investment in social care. People are in hospital who shouldn’t be there, but it is because there is no outside support.

“They should be in a better environment to recuperate and recover, not a hospital setting.”

The manifesto is on the party’s website and Facebook page.


IF the council becomes a unitary authority, the Labour party has pledged to ask for control of highways so they can fix the town’s potholes.

It is one of the ways the party has said it will give power back to local authorities.

Party leader Tim Young said: “We have asked Essex County Council in the past to take over the budget for highways in Colchester.

“They said we could have the responsibility but not the funding.

“We want to show we can spend the budget better here, it will be part of our robust and positive engagement with Essex County Council.”

Other ways they intend to do this include:

- Allocating funding for at least 10 PSCOs in Colchester and lobbying Government to increase funding for the police 

- Re-routing cars and buses around the most polluted parts in the town so residents can breathe clean air

- Supporting Colchester’s Business Improvement District proposal

- Demanding a greater say in the NHS sustainability and transformation plans and programmes for the area 

- Lobbying Government to significantly increase spending on the NHS 

- Leading a campaign to make Colchester a central player in a new unitary authority

- Producing an investment and acquisition strategy so the council can continue to provide vital, frontline services after Government cuts

Speaking about supporting the Colchester BID, Mr Young added: “The BID company will decide how the money is spent and businesses can spend it on their priorities.

“The BID will keep the town heading in the right direction.”

He said businesses want to tackle things like antisocial behaviour and street cleanliness in particular.

In order to continue to keep the streets clean, the party has recognised the high demand for wheelie bins in rural areas and flats, and has pledged to roll them out where they are wanted.

Speaking about the party’s pledges, Mr Young added: “”We need to start thinking the unthinkable and taking radical action.”